Chinese New Year is now a truly global celebration enjoyed by over 1.3 billion people, with over 800 events hosted in more than 320 cities across 118 countries. With so many different people taking part in the festivities internationally, for brands hoping to get involved and run special promotions, localising messaging to different regions is increasingly important.
As we welcome in the Year of the Monkey, let’s take a look at some of the best examples of localised Chinese New Year promotional content around this year, and why it worked.
Pizza hit is a great example of a big brand that puts a lot of effort into localising their Chinese New Year promotions to different regional audiences. Rather than rolling out a blanket ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ message across all markets, every country is running different offers, using bespoke imagery and locally relevant advertising to mark the occasion.
This year’s Pizza hut Chinese New Year menu caused quite a stir as it features a pizza topped with an entire cooked lobster (although a spaghetti option is also available for those with less adventurous tastes). This somewhat extravagant addition to the normally modest menu, although unusual, worked because people in China tend to want to treat themselves and their families as the holiday celebrations get into full swing and so are willing to be a little more lavish.
In Indonesia, Pizza Hut’s promotional content is far removed from the grandiose food imagery used in China, with their Lunar New Year posts shunning photos from the menu in favour of simple pictures featuring a pomelo fruit and traditional cakes, which symbolise good luck for the coming year.
Another country, another localised menu: In Malaysia, a brand new pizza range, the ‘Cheesy Crown’ was launched so that ‘this Lunar New Year, [you can feel] like a royal at Pizza Hut’. Pizza Hut Malaysia head Felix D. Michael said the new Cheesy Crown pizza was designed to ‘make an enjoyable meal for close friends and family during the festive holidays’.
Levi's have carried a similar theme across their regional markets with Chinese New Year promotions offering bespoke product ranges, offers and discounts tweaked for each specific market.
In China a special New Year’s clothing collection was revealed. The range went all-out with the monkey theme including jackets with embroidered monkey designs and others featuring the number 8, believed in China to symbolise luck. Discounts were offered through the use of QPR codes, which are hugely popular with Chinese users. A competition was also run on the local messaging app We Chat offering users the chance to win goodies including phone cases, T-shirts and wallets.
In Thailand, a more toned-down Chinese New Year collection was launched, featuring red and gold t-shirts promoted with the slogan ‘new clothes for a new year’. Discounts of 20 per cent and 25 per cent are also being offered to entice online shoppers to spend.
In Malaysia, local celebrities were employed to endorse the Chinese New Year collection. Clicking on each of the celebrity images clicks through to a landing page where they reveal their wishes for the New Year.
Prosperity packs are also being offered for purchases over RM250 allowing shoppers to ‘give [themselves] a treat this festive season, and spread some cheer too’.
Gucci shows how, increasingly, even high-end luxury fashion brands and are incorporating Chinese New Year into their marketing calendars and localising these campaigns for regional customers.
In China, Gucci used the local equivalent to YouTube, YouKu, to promote a ‘happy holiday’ video, featuring traditional Chinese designs and imagery.
USA and Europe
The Gucci Chinese New Year collection, which sees monkeys adorning everything from keyrings to handbags received coverage across major fashion publications across Europe and the USA, showcasing the increasing trend for mainstream interest in the Chinese New Year holiday outside of mainland China.
So as global spending on Chinese New Year increases every year, with £8.6 billion pounds estimated to be spent this year by Chinese tourists alone, international brands need to seriously consider their marketing plans around this annual event.
As celebrations take place all over the world, understanding the customs and traditions of customers in different regions is key. Follow the lead of the brands featured within this list and tailor messaging to ensure a localised approach which will engage your audience during the celebrations, wherever they are.
Chloe McKenna is a social media strategist at Oban Digital